As seen in Issue 3 of Uncaged Book Reviews, to read the interview with Bronwyn, please see the link below.
You always say you’d stand and fight, but when you witness the death of your loved ones, are you certain your feet won’t take off and lead you on a merry-go-round?
Witnessing the murder of my family had me on the run. I didn’t know where I was going, or why I was left standing, but that didn’t stop my flight instinct from kicking in. I ran screaming, but he found me, and now I’m trapped in a hotel with a madman. What does he want from me and am I going to survive long enough to find out?
Mum was always the one to walk into the closet to make sure the monsters were all gone each night before I went to bed.
She was the one who told me it was okay to fear. She made sure I was always safe when she was around, and if she couldn’t be, she’d give me something to take her place.
It was a stuffed rabbit. By the time I could remember owning it, I’d held the rabbit for nearly five years. It’s actually one of my oldest memories.
The rabbit, which had been a nice baby yellow, when brand new, had turned a greyish colour, but I was more than sure that was years later than my first memory of it. As it stood now, me at the tender age of twenty-two, it only had one ear, long, paper-thin, and crusty from years of being chewed. The other a replacement ear from a bear. The stuffing were those little beads, settled in the arse and its toes. However, one of those had seen better days.
I remember this because I wanted to be clutching my rabbit now. I wanted my fingers around the head, suffocating poor Scratchy as the butt snuggled into my armpit.
Screams pierced at my ears—my mother’s, my sister’s, yelling for the pain to stop, for everything to stop! Panicked, I try to run away, to turn invisible as I slowly back out of the room. Tears ran down my cheeks. I want nothing more than to run to them, to get him to stop.
A pulse in my head started beating rapidly, rebounding around my mind fast and strong. Pound pound pound. As if it was ready to jump out of my skin and dance the hula on my grave.
I pray I’m not making any noise.
My feet are heavy as I drag myself along the hall, a hand trailing against the wallpaper, slowly making my way towards the front door.
Moans of pleas dance around me, sounding as if they were far away, then right on top of me. I’m alive and dead, dreading the moment he finds out I’m still in the house, that I’m not asleep, or locked up somewhere.
I don’t know why he hasn’t seen me yet, why he didn’t check out the house before standing over my family. Before he started the butchering I’d witnessed.
Fear rides me hard, I understand that as my hands shake and my mouth turns dry. I want to run. I want to scream, I want something to happen. The fact that I’m walking now is almost scarier.
Why is it possible? When is he going to see me? Hunt me down and do to me as he’s doing to my family.
Sweat slides down my spine, running cold, making me shiver while heat licks at my face, my neck. I’m all over the place, hoping and praying that my fingers are going to wrap around the front door handle, but I know it’s not going to happen. Any moment now, any fucking second, I’m going to get grabbed from behind and dragged to my death, and from the screams and blood-curling pleas, coming from my mother’s room it’s not going to be fun sailing.
My bladder punched at me, I need the toilet, needed it in the worst way possible. I wasn’t even sure why. I mean yeah, I just woke, but honestly I hadn’t even really fallen asleep before all this happened.
I reach the front room, the door is right there, just a few feet away. In reach. I push out a breath of happiness. I’m excited, I’m shaking, but breathing becomes ragged, hitting me as I suck in more than I let out.
I stumble, hitting things that aren’t there.
I jumped, heart leaping into my throat, closing it up, as a scrape sounds from behind. It had me instinctively turning, but I caught myself just before making the most basic scary movie. no. no. I bump into the counter, it rattles, making a loud noise in the quiet room. There’s no way he doesn’t know I’m here now.
My fingers fumble on the table, I grabbed my mum’s purse, taking the hard leather, then ran for the door, not caring anymore, just knowing that I need out. I would be safe once I get outside.
I clutch at the door as it swings open, rolling around the hard edge taking myself outside.
I look back, not able to get to the other side without looking. In most ways, I can’t help myself; it’s almost a compulsion. I can’t not see what’s chasing me. Can’t not see if he was actually there or if I was home free.
I see a reflection as a cabinet door swung open. Its shone into the hallway revealing a man standing there, young looking and covered in blood. His jeans looked almost black in some areas, his shirt ripped as if someone had pulled at its collar. A butcher’s knife in his left hand, a smaller one in his right. Blood dripping from both blades.
A smirk lined his face, nearly deviously happy with himself.
My body shakes, violently, getting me moving again. I blinked, not releasing I’d stopped.
“I’ll find you,” was voiced from somewhere behind me, and a laugh, fucking hell, the laugh, it was like something you’d hear coming out of a man who knew he’d done a good job in the sack.
A beep shattered the world, making it shift and wobble as I slowly made my way out the door.
It happened again. I stilled, not sure what was real and what wasn’t.
Fear drenched me as I turned myself around, frantically reaching out, trying to find some common ground.
Hard plastic hurt my hand as I hit something at an odd angle.
I cried out in surprise and then pain, as darkness folded around me.
This is a short read, but a heart thumping trip, with the character of Charlie, who is trying to escape from a killer in her home, who’s already murdered her mother and sister. Slipping out of the house and running away, feeling just the need to get away from the killer.
In a short amount of time, the story gives you the fear and all the scattered thoughts of a person trying to outrun a killer. I can’t put too much into the review, as it’s a very short story, but the author succeeds in what they set out to do, to get your heart pounding, turning the pages. Would be a great campfire story to read when you’re sitting around telling thrillers.
Another short story, and more heart pounding running. The story is of a girl, who gets away from a serial killer, running through woods and through a river – all the time her imagination is playing so many games with her mind from fear. You feel her plight, and her emotions throughout. Another great campfire story, especially when you are trying to scare everyone into not being able to sleep.
Great short story, sets out what it intends to do, and even though it’s short and another story about running – the ending is much different than Running Scared, but very much a good short thrill.